[ ri-kog-nuh-zuh ns, -kon-uh- ]
/ rɪˈkɒg nə zəns, -ˈkɒn ə- /


  1. a bond or obligation of record entered into before a court of record or a magistrate, binding a person to do a particular act.
  2. the sum pledged as surety on such a bond.
Archaic. recognition.
Archaic. a token; badge.

Nearby words

  1. reco-reco,
  2. recognise,
  3. recognition,
  4. recognition factor,
  5. recognizable,
  6. recognization,
  7. recognize,
  8. recognizee,
  9. recognizor,
  10. recoil

Origin of recognizance

1350–1400; Middle English reconissaunce, recognisance < Old French reconuissance. See recognize, -ance Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for recognizance

British Dictionary definitions for recognizance



/ (rɪˈkɒɡnɪzəns) /


  1. a bond entered into before a court or magistrate by which a person binds himself to do a specified act, as to appear in court on a stated day, keep the peace, or pay a debt
  2. a monetary sum pledged to the performance of such an act
an obsolete word for recognition
Derived Formsrecognizant or recognisant, adjective

Word Origin for recognizance

C14: from Old French reconoissance, from reconoistre to recognize

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for recognizance



early 14c., reconisaunce, "a bond acknowledging some obligation binding one over to do some particular act," from Old French reconissance "acknowledgment, recognition" (12c., Modern French reconnaissance), from reconoiss-, present participle stem of reconoistre (see recognize). Related: Recognizant.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper